Date: 10/14/02 11:53:20 AM

Name: Mo4


Subject: An Occasion for Disbelief?

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It saddens me to think that part of the fallout of our Church's teaching crisis might be to weaken people's faith. This seemed to be one of the primary concerns of Paul VI and the minority theologians:

"If the Church could err (on this issue), the authority of the ordinary magisterium in moral matters would be thrown into question. The faithful could not put their trust in the magisterium's presentation of moral teaching, especially in sexual matters. For if this doctrine is not substantially true, the magisterium itself will seem to be empty and useless in any moral matter."

Richard McBrien: "The assumption here seems to be that if the Church, or any comparable moral agency, can be found to be in error on this important matter, its judgment on ALL matters is automatically suspect."

Has this crisis in moral teaching ever been a source of doubt for you as regarding the central Mysteries of the faith even? It need not!

Megan Hartman: "Humanae Vitae becomes the point at which many Catholics begin to decide to go their own way on issues of reproductive morality and yet remain Catholic in their minds and hearts. Andrew Greeley writes that one of the most important results of the encyclical turned out to be that “the laity and the junior clergy did not listen and the Vatican’s credibility as a teacher of sexual ethics was badly weakened.”

The majority theologians wrote: "Such a change is to be seen rather as a step toward a more mature comprehension of the whole doctrine of the Church. For doubt and reconsideration are quite reasonable when proper reasons for doubt and reconsideration occur with regard to some specific question. This is part and parcel of the accepted teaching of fundamental theology."

There perhaps exist newer and seemingly more compelling reasons for scandal in the Church today. If there are lessons we learned from the fallout of Humanae Vitae, then let no one take an all or nothing approach in their assessment of our pilgrim Church's reliability, trustworthiness, credibility and authoritativeness, given our sundry all too human failings. That She has survived and thrived down through the ages, despite all of our individual sinfulness, foibles and mistakes, however comprised of so very imperfect human beings, is perhaps the SUREST sign of the Holy Spirit's abiding influence!


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